Prospective members are welcome to try bushwalking or other activities with NPA. Check our extensive activities program here.
Illawarra Branch business meetings are held quarterly on a Saturday afternoon. All members are welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion. The Branch also holds occasional social events and information nights.
As well as our activities program and participation in local events, we continue to advocate for nature protection in our unique region with particular attention to the Illawarra Escarpment and its urban interface. We keep an eye on the state of the local tracks, follow developments in local councils, maintain a Facebook page and regularly liaise with the local office of NPWS. Branch officers take any opportunities to speak to the media or local groups. Some current projects of interest are;
Mountain biking on the Illawarra Escarpment
We have been involved in this complicated and controversial issue for several years and belong to the Advisory Group run by NPWS and Wollongong Council. Currently the plans are for two trail networks at Mt Kembla and Balgownie. While there has been some progress on the Mt Kembla network, with construction planned to start in 2023, the more straightforward Balgownie network is still in the approval stages. NPA and our sister organisation the Illawarra Escarpment Alliance (EscA) argued strongly against putting new trails through Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest (a federally listed Endangered Ecological Community) at Balgownie and we are pleased that this advice is being followed.
Walking tracks on the Illawarra Escarpment
We are also represented on the NPWS Walking Track Stakeholder Group. This advises NPWS on issues relating to planning and maintenance of the track network across the Illawarra. The long-awaited update to the Illawarra Escarpment Walking Tracks Master Plan is expected in late 2023. We hope it will set out a future direction for works and funding for our deteriorating tracks. The group has also been consulted on planning of the Great Southern Walk from Botany Bay to Bulli Tops, due for completion in 2024. This will fill in some missing links but we and others would also like to see further plans for the walk to continue even further south.
Killalea Regional Park
We are pleased that this coastal park is now being managed by NPWS and we are represented on the Stakeholder Consultation Group for the park. We will follow the progress of the new Plan of Management and its implementation.
Mining in the catchment
NPA Illawarra members have followed many developments as mining companies have sought to expand their operations even as it becomes clearer that coal mining must be phased out. We have been particularly concerned about risks to our water catchment and hope there can be a quick and peaceful transition to a less carbon intensive future. More detail here.
Lake Illawarra and the coast
We take an interest in our dynamic coastline and Lake Illawarra being a large coastal lagoon that is a prominent geographical feature in our area into which many waterways drain. Our focus is on preserving green corridors from escarpment to coast and better management of the waterways. We are particularly concerned to protect the outstanding bird habitat at Tallawarra.
We have made a number of submissions to Wollongong Council and the NSW state government about local planning issues including land use, development on and near the escarpment, urban greening and natural area management.Our branch’s newsletters and submissions are here